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Air-Fried Chicken Meatballs (Simple & Quick)

Air-fried chicken meatballs are flavorful, tender, and juicy. They are ready in 10 minutes, with no complicated procedures. It is a tasty option for satisfying snacks, supper, and delightful appetizers.

There are multiple ways to make these meatballs, but the air-fryer versions offer many advantages. It helps you reduce time and energy consumption. There is no splattering of oil which make clean-up easier.

Moreover, its recipe consists of simple steps guaranteeing a delicious meal! You won’t regret trying them out!

Let’s get to the recipe.

Why Make Homemade Chicken Meatballs in an Air Fryer?

My favorite reason is that it gives the meatballs a great crunchy brown coating while keeping the inside very juicy and soft.

If you’ve ever fried meatballs on the stovetop, you’re certainly familiar with the battle of keeping them round. The side that comes into touch with the pan invariably flattens out.

That isn’t an issue when you cook them in the air fryer, so your meatballs will seem like balls rather than strange cubes. They also don’t fall apart like they do in a slow cooker or oven.

Ingredients

You need some simple ingredients for making chicken meatballs in your air fryer.

  • 1 lb ground chicken (90% lean)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chilies,
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or dried parsley
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or cooking spray
  • Salsa Verde
  • Seasonings: 3/4 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp paprika powder, 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper.

Note: Use olive oil for white flesh chicken as it dries easily. Applying olive oil keeps it wet. You may skip it for dark-flesh chicken. Panko breadcrumbs bind them and prevent them from becoming heavy. Use mozzarella cheese while cooking; it melts into the meat and provides juiciness.

meatballs with tomato sauce
Chili garlic ketchup or tomato sauce is an amazing dipping sauce

Cooking Instructions

These are extremely simple to prepare, with a cooking time of 10 to 25 minutes.

  1. Combine the ingredients: Mix ground chicken, garlic, onion, panko breadcrumbs, mozzarella cheese, cilantro, egg, chipotle chilies, oregano, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Create balls: Take 1 tbsp of the mixture and shape it into a 1-inch ball. Repeat with all the mixture. Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil. Place the meatballs in the basket 1/2 inch apart to avoid any mess.
  4. Cook meatballs at 370° for about 6 minutes, until the outsides are golden brown with thoroughly cooked centers.
  5. Serve: Serve alongside your favorite dipping sauce or top it with salsa verde.

Here’s a tutorial on making air-fried chicken meatballs.

Air-Fried Meatballs

Serving suggestions

You can consume these meatballs by combining them with plenty of foods and making a whole meal, such as:

Spaghetti: Serve these air-fried meatballs alongside spaghetti. You can put them on top of Alfredo pasta, one-pot spaghetti, or instant-pot pasta.

They are a tasty option for topping your homemade pizza. You can buy pizza dough from a store or make it at home!

Meatball sub: Put them between two slices of bread with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese to make a homemade meatball sub!

As an appetizer: Insert toothpicks into them and serve with marinara sauce, BBQ, pesto, lemon butter sauce, or tomato sauce.

Put in salad or soup: Use it in pesto pasta salad, Caesar salad, or your favorite soup for protein intake.

Recipe variations

  • Add some dry seasoning suggestions: Use Dry Buffalo Seasoning, Italian Spice, Dry Ranch seasoning, Chicken Seasoning, or Thai curry spices.
  • Make a Keto-friendly version by using equal amounts of breadcrumbs and ground chicken to keep the carbs in check. Replace the breadcrumbs with Paleo or almond flour.
  • Or serve them with Swedish Teriyaki Sauce, Marinara sauce, or BBQ sauce.
spaghettis with meatballs on top
Meatballs are typically served with spaghetti or pasta.

Tips for perfect results

  • Shredded mozzarella, Monterey jack, pepper jack, cheddar, and Mexican blend are excellent cheese choices for this recipe.
  • Mix the ingredients with your hands gradually. Overmixing the ingredients would make rough meatballs.
  • Check the internal temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer. The ideal inner temperature for meat is 165°F.
  • Olive oil adds additional moisture, making food more moist and delicious.
  • Make balls of 1 to 3 inches. Larger balls would take longer to air fry and remain undercooked.
  • A 6-quart air fryer cooks 6 lbs of meat in 2 batches. Always vary the cooking time and temperature according to your air fryer.
  • Use aluminum foil to facilitate cleanup and avoid grease.
  • If you are short on time, you can use packaged spices and garlic powder. They might lack the taste of fresh vegetables and spices, but they are a suitable substitute and save time.

Storage Instructions

Air-fried chicken meatballs should be kept at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before storing them.

Place them in a zip-lock bag or an air-tight container and put them in your freezer for 2 to 3 weeks. Or you can store them in your freezer for up to 3 months.

The foods from the air fryer can be frozen easily and served whenever needed for a small gathering. It works in a variety of combinations, as discussed previously.

Nutritional Information

This table shows the distribution of 311 kcal among the various nutrients present in a single serving of this recipe.

NutrientsAmount (g/mg)
Protein34g
Carbohydrates13g
Fiber1g
Sugar1g
Fat13g
Sodium906mg
Amount of nutrients per serving

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you air fry frozen chicken meatballs?

Frozen meatballs are air-fried to give them a fresh taste and look.

Simply reheat them after thawing overnight in the refrigerator. Place the meatballs in an air fryer basket lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Turn on the air fryer at 400 °F. They’ll turn golden brown in 12 to 15 minutes.

Are chicken meatballs healthy?

Yes, they are healthy, especially when made in an air fryer.

Replace the bread crumbs with gluten-free ones to make a gluten-free recipe. You can substitute panko for an almond meal for a low-carb or keto diet.

Why do chicken meatballs become tough?

The lack of moisture results in tough meatballs. Eggs, milk, and breadcrumbs act as a binder for them. If they aren’t in sufficient amounts, it might cause breaking and tougher meatballs. ]

What else can we use instead of breadcrumbs?

Use crackers in place of the breadcrumbs for making meatballs. Crushed crackers work well as a binder for meatloaves and meatballs.

The crackers keep the meat mixture together, just as breadcrumbs do. Salt or butter adds extra flavor and texture to your meatballs.

3 meatballs on a white background
Crispy meatballs with a moist interior

How do I reheat chicken meatballs?

Reheat the meatballs immediately after removing them from the refrigerator. Cook them in an air fryer at 375 degrees for 3 to 6 minutes if kept at room temperature. Cook the frozen ones for 7 to 8 minutes.

Adding them to your preferred marinara sauce and simmering it on the stovetop for a few minutes is another popular method of reheating food.

How do you get a perfectly shaped meatball?

Using a meatball scoop helps you get perfectly sized and shaped balls with less effort than manually. It helps you avoid overcompressing the flesh. Scoop up the meat and shape it by gently rolling it between your palms.

Don’t pack meatballs tightly. Use enough pressure to ensure the meatballs maintain their shape as you scoop the mixture into balls.

Dampen or moisten your hands with oil before handling the meatballs. It would help you avoid sticking the mixture to your hands.

Do we need to boil the meatballs before air frying them?

People boil the meatballs before air-frying to get a perfectly cooked interior.

Mild boiling helps you get rid of raw chicken and gives it a moist, juicy interior. It’s done to increase the taste and texture. After boiling, the meatballs are air-fried or deep-fried to give them a crispy exterior and an amazing flavor.

Freezing and Reheating

You can freeze any leftover chicken balls for up to 4 months. Allow them to cool to room temperature before placing them on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper.

Place the meatballs in the freezer for 1-2 hours, then transfer them to a zip-top bag. Squeeze out all of the air, and remember to put a “Reheat by” date!

Reheat the chicken meatballs in the air fryer for crispy results. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F or leave it on for 4-5 minutes to heat up. Then air fried for 3-5 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked. If reheating from frozen, allow for more time.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, I’d like to say that:

  • Air fryer chicken meatballs are made easily in a few steps. They don’t require hard work or complex ingredients.
  • They are excellent as an appetizer, a topping for pizza, a meatball sandwich, or your favorite pasta dish.
  • You can serve it with countless dishes and is a fantastic kid option.
  • They are ready with some simple ingredients in just 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Serve them with marinara sauce, spaghetti, pasta, or cauliflower rice. They taste fantastic when sprinkled with sauce and combined with salads.
  • They have a crispy exterior and a moist, juicy interior.

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